C California Style

Italian Import

by C California Style

Fendi brings Caravaggio to the Getty Center

Caravaggio, the erratic, tortured Italian artist of the 1600s, is known for painting some of the most divine masterpieces of his time—naturalist paintings of dramatic, violent and often religious events, emblazoned with deep shadows and a stark degree of realism.

CARAVAGGIO’s Boy with a Basket of Fruit, circa 1593-1594. Oil on canvas. courtesy of fendi

Now, thanks to the classically Roman fashion brand, Fendi, an opportunity to experience the fervor of his works comes to Los Angeles. The company has engaged in a three-year partnership with the epic Roman museum Galleria Borghese, which has housed many Caravaggios since Cardinal Scipione Borghese first started collecting them in the early 1600s.

Saint Jerome, circa 1605-1606, oil on canvas. Photography courtesy of Fendi.

Boy with a Basket of Fruit, Saint Jerome and David with the Head of Goliath, embark on a global tour beginning at the J. Paul Getty Museum and ending in the Far East. The partnership also includes the launch of the Caravaggio Research Institute, which is tasked with creating a digital site that will be filled with primary source materials and documents to allow people to experience and gather knowledge about the complex artist, who was as known for being prone to street brawls and patronizing prostitutes as he was for shaping a string of successors—Bernini, Rembrandt, Velazquez among them.


Timothy Potts, director of the J. Paul Getty Museum, thinks that influence continues today. “His early work is all beauty and color; but what captivates us now are his later and much darker paintings of death, anger and mourning that speak to our 21st-century angst. Never before in this country have three such famous and important paintings of his been brought together. No one will go away unaffected.” “Caravaggio: Masterpieces from the Galleria Borghese.” Nov. 21-Feb. 18. J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center, 1200 Getty Center Dr., L.A., 310-440-7300; getty.edu.

Written and edited by ELIZABETH KHURI CHANDLER.

This article originally appeared in the December 2017 issue of C Magazine.